Breakfast Spread on the Fly…

What. A. Week… Actually, hectic can’t describe my last 2 weeks with school starting for the kiddos AND myself! Early mornings, hustle for more school supplies that you somehow missed, orientations here and there…. my head has been on a spin cycle – hence, the absence of entries on here. :-/

No matter, I’m a trooper, and I tend to adjust to surprises and rigor pretty well. So when dear Hubby informs me on Sunday night (while I’m getting the kiddos ready for the week, mind you) that he’s having a friend over at 8 am for a meeting, and could I pull a little something together, my first thought was to throw my shoe at him…. but the second was, I got this! (Of course I did away with that first thought! lol)

Get Your Plan Together

Do you have any quick meal go-to’s? I find that when entertaining, having a couple of perfected recipes are the best! If I’m having a few guests over, a frittata would be the business, but since it’s just Hubby and his comrade, I decided on a quick bagel spread with fruit and juice. ¬†This was easy enough, but it’s not about just slapping some bagels and cheese together… you gotta make it special! I’ve incorporated some veggies, two kinds of cream cheese, and a some lox to be fancy with it, but you can use whatever you like… the choices are endless! Just make sure the ingredients used are good quality.

  • Prep the night before – I sliced red onions, cucumbers and beefsteak tomatoes and stored them in tupperware. I made an avocado and garlic cream cheese, (1/2 avocado, 1 small clove of minced garlic, a good squeeze of lemon juice) and transferred it and the plain cream cheese into smaller containers.

  • The day of, slice and toast the bagels – use a spray butter like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” to flavor – I used whole wheat bagels and everything bagels

  • Arrange everything on the table where your guests can help themselves – I’ve added a melon platter, capers, orange juice, and coffee brewed in a french press -the only way to brew coffee, in my opinion! Note that everything is transferred to small, attractive containers for appearances… which is half the battle of entertaining!

Simple, yet effective… and you hardly break a sweat! ūüôā

Write On!

Do you like to write? Maybe you have ideas about a story, or maybe you’re own life is a compelling tele novella. Whether you consider yourself a dedicated writer, or aspiring, we all need a little push in the right, or write direction! (Knee-slapper…. couldn’t resist)

¬†I am a writer. I’ve written since I was a kid, and it’s a part of the fabric of my being. ¬†Yet with all it’s importance, it often gets pushed to the side in my world for school, kids, household… you name it! ¬†But writing is not only gratifying on so many levels, it can also be therapeutic. ¬†I want to encourage all of you to harness the almighty pen, if not for the good of all humanity, then simply for yourself. ¬†Here are a few ways to get going, and release the inner-Hemingway in you!
  1. ¬†Journal: Get in the practice of writing with a good old-fashion journal. Complain about your day, talk about your cat, talk about your hopes and dreams… just write it all out. This is also good for the soul.
  2. Set writing goals: Wanna write the next Harry Potter? Feel like you can be the next Stephen King? Write down your goals and ideas. Read them back to yourself. How much time can you dedicate to this craft? Hold yourself accountable for sticking to it! After all, this is for you, and you’re worth it.
  3. Join a local writer’s critique group: Whether you’re a novice or a novelist, joining a critique group is essential to any writer. It’s like attracting like; writers support and feed each other inspirational energy. If you find a group of writers who are generally positive, truthful, yet encouraging, it may surprise you how quickly those creative juices start to flow. Whatever the genre, get out there and find a group!
  4. Take a writing class: This is essential! Even if it’s one time, a class will aim you in the right direction with your writing goals, as well as fine-tune your knowledge of the craft itself. We’re never too old to learn, and there’s no such thing as too much practice.
  5. Write. Write some more. Keep on writing!
 I will continue to post things on the art and the craft of writing to encourage those of you who might be hesitant on this new venture. Everyone has a voice, and what you have to say might be just the thing someone needs to hear. Or read. Same difference.

Good Eats in the Heat

It’s August, clearly hot in most areas of North America, and with the heat comes the occasional aversion for the kitchen ¬†Even the most enthusiastic foodie like myself can’t imagination turning on the oven even in an air-conditioned setting.

Here’s a quick, no-heat option for a Spanish favorite – Gazpacho. ¬†This is a cold tomato soup, which sounds a slightly unattractive for those unfamiliar, but unless you don’t like tomatoes, this is a delicious, refreshing dish that could be an appetizer or a light meal with some shrimp and a good crusty bread. Here’s a recipe from one of my fav sites, Allrecipes.com:
Southern Spain-Style Gazpacho
recipe image
Rated: rating
Submitted By: MUGAL
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Ready In: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
Servings: 4
“This refreshingly tangy bowl of the Spanish classic was inspired by a trip to Toledo, Spain.”
INGREDIENTS:
3/4 green bell pepper, seeded
1/2 cucumber, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 day-old crusty bread rolls, cut into thick
slices
6 tomatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
DIRECTIONS:
1. Blend the green bell pepper, cucumber, garlic, and 1/2 cup olive oil together in a blender until smooth. Add the bread slices to the blender one at a time and blend each into the mixture until smooth. Blend the tomatoes into the mixture one at a time until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl; season with salt and cayenne pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon olive oil to serve.
As I stated before, I am a foodie. I’m suggesting recipes that I’ve not only tried, I’ve pretty much owned them. (patting self on the back) There are a lot of gazpacho recipes out there, but this one is the closest I’ve come to the gazpacho I tasted and fell in love with in Spain. I have just a couple of suggestions:
  • Try red wine vinegar instead of balsamic. This is up to you, but I like the taste of the red wine vinegar.
  • Use a really good spanish extra-virgin olive oil. You’d be surprised how the oil contributes to the taste.
Enjoy!

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